Monday, January 03, 2011

lingering over crabs

This is a little bit crazy, but at first I thought it was the mangrove seedlings snapping their leaves together. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the movement, but (try as I might to catch them at it) as soon as I turned, all was still. A few steps further and Frank pointed them out - an army of crabs scurrying sideways down their holes as we trod the board walk above their heads.

Pied Oystercatcher, Top Lake, Merimbula NSW

Given the birds who lurked nearby, on the hunt for tasty morsels, the crab's dash for safety was understandable, though some gamely continued to shovel sand with their pincers, one eye on us, one on their food, sifting the sand at furious speed.

Spotted Smooth Shore Crab, intertidal zone of Top Lake, Merimbula NSW

With no schedule to keep, we lingered a while, marvelling at the agility and speed of the crabs, their diversity of size, shape and colour, while others walked on by. Couldn't they see the crabs? we wondered. Had they stopped and stared earlier? Is it possible that, while we marvelled, they just weren't interested? Here a world of crabs were putting on a fabulous display as they went about their business, and people didn't even look.

Not that I'm the world's most mindful person. I imagine I miss a lot in my not-paying-attention rush. What beauty or insight lingers in the shadows of my awareness? If I slowed down, would I discover treasures to feed my soul and calm the angst, treasures like crabs in the mud on a cloudy summer's day?

New year resolutions are not my forte, not because I don't keep them. I just don't make them. Instead I prefer broad goals, although I don't even get to them a lot of the time, mostly because I don't take the time to reflect. I'm too busy doing things, which makes me think those crabs have something to teach me. About slowing down, taking time, paying attention, taking notice.

This all resonates with a quote I read this morning.
Contemplation can be defined as paying attention. It is about a way of seeing. We live in a world today where we are deluged with information. The emails come in. The mobiles ring. A text here. A website there. Excited by the process, we can all too easily become people who are skimming over the surface of life. John Naish has described our condition as infobesity, seeing it as a different sort of fatness and producing profound stress. There is a sense that we need to slow down, to settle and pay attention to things in a new sort of way.
Chris Sunderland, The Dream that inspired the Bible
Stopping and noticing things, contemplating nature - all provide a path from information overload to peace. I don't want to rush through life unobserved, and I could do without unnecessary stress.

There are probably a few other 2011 goals I need to make, but this seems a good place to start - a commitment to slowing down and taking notice. And who knows, perhaps everything else will flow naturally from this stillness.

In the interests of sharing my mindfulness moment, here's a photo chock full of crabs... pause if you like, and see how many you find. Or just admire the mangrove pneumatophores.

The world is an amazing place, that is for sure!

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At 9:35 pm, January 03, 2011, Anonymous 2paw said...

That's a good thing you'd like to do, stopping and taking a breath. Life can just be a lot of hurrying and you don't notice the world around you.
Nice crabs!!!
Happy New Year!!

At 6:32 pm, January 06, 2011, Blogger Cherie said...

I LOVE the quote here, Cecily. I think I'll borrow it and post it over on my blog so I'll remember it. Slowing down - such an important and hard thing to do. I think I'll get my In Praise of Slowness book out soon and re-read it.

Thanks for this reminder and the great photos, too!


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